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CD: Crotchet
Download: Classicsonline


Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Lieder und Gesänge
CD 1
Six Lieder Op. 75 (1809) [16:23]
Six Lieder von Gellert  (1801 – 1802) [14:24]
Vier Arietten und ein Duett Op. 82 (Italian) (1809) [12:40]
CD 2

An die Geliebte/1 WoO 140 (1811) [1:24]
Sehnsucht/1 WoO 134 (1808 - 1823) [1:38]
An die Geliebte/2 WoO 140 (1811) [1:40]
Sehnsucht/2 WoO 134 (1808 - 1823) [1:20]
Das Geheimnis (1815) WoO 145 [1:52]
Sehnsucht/3 WoO 134 (1808 - 1823) [1:28]
Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte WoO 132 (1806) [3:29]
Sehnsucht/4 WoO 134 (1808 - 1823) [2:00]
Der Kuß Op. 128 (1798/1822 ) [2:09]
Sehnsucht (Reissig) WoO 146 (1816) [3:07]
Der Mann von Wort Op. 99 (1816) [2:08]
Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe WoO 188 (1794) [6:16]
In questa tomba oscura WoO 133 (1807) [3 :13]
Eight Lieder Op. 52  (1805) [27:03]
Ann Murray (mezzo)
Roderick Williams (baritone)
Iain Burnside (piano)
rec. The Warehouse, London, 18–19 February 2008, 18–19 March 2008
SIGNUM CLASSICS SIGCD139 [43:33 + 43:33]


Experience Classicsonline

This is the first in a two part set of Beethoven's Lieder und Gesänge issued by Signum Classics. Beethoven himself was not a keen song-writer and did not think he was very good at it, yet despite this, almost half of his total works call for a voice. This disc includes some of the best of those compositions.  The ones he thought lesser works he didn’t ascribe an opus number to, and on several occasions he would have two or more attempts at the same words; hence the four versions of Sehnsucht, and two of An die Geliebte.  Most of the songs belong to the so called ‘Middle Period’ of Beethoven’s compositions. 

The first CD is devoted to three collections of songs.  The first is a collection composed at various times but brought together and revised in 1809. Four of the poems are from Beethoven’s literary hero Goethe. They are well delivered and the Song of the Flea from Faust had me chuckling at the accompaniment. 

The Gellert songs are all variously praises to God and correspondingly have a solemn theme running through and thus we have Beethoven at his most serious and earnest. Appropriately, these are sung exclusively by the baritone. 

The Italian Arias and Duets Op 82 are all by the poet Pietro Metastasio and all deal with aspects of love.  The third one is sung first by the man – Arietta buffa; then the woman – Arietta assai seriosa; and one has the impression that the lovers have arranged a rendezvous but each is waiting in a different place!  In the final duet the singers are well matched and respond to each other tenderly in the final ‘o dolore.

The second CD begins with An die Geliebte which is also track 3 – the difference being the accompaniment both very different from each other. 

Tracks 2, 4, 6, and 8 are settings of the same song, this time Sehnsucht with words by Goethe, This time the only common thing is the words as the tune and accompaniment are different. Track 10 is another Sehnsucht this time the words are by Reissig. 

Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe (track 12) starts like a recitative and aria but holds a surprise in it. Composed in 1794 it is the earliest song on the disc but halfway through the mood changes and the tune is from the Choral Fantasy Op 80 of 1808, which itself was the precursor of the Ninth Symphony – a revelation that this had such a long gestation period. 

In questa tomba oscura is the result of a challenge issued in 1807-8 when composers were invited to set this poem by Giuseppe Carpini.  Sixty submitted entries but this is the only memorable setting. 

In the Op 52 set we are back with the strophic songs.  The subject matter in the first five are variously love and death. The sixth about a traveller and his marmot (a small animal, heavily built, having short legs, a short furry tail, and coarse fur).  The seventh about the wonders of flowers. And lastly, a comic song ‘The Travails of a Bore’, where the singer travels far and wide  only to discover that people are the same everywhere!

The two singers give some splendid renditions of these songs, and although Ann Murray is not as sweet toned as she used to be, this does not detract from the pleasure these disc have given me. 

As one would expect from one of the greatest pianists of his time, Beethoven’s accompaniments are not just background support but play their full part in telling the story of the song.  Indeed one could take the voice part away and still have a satisfying piano morsel.  These are played with great artistry by Iain Burnside, adding to the enjoyment of this music. 

If your experience of Beethoven’s lieder is only ‘An die Ferne Geliebte’ and ‘Adelaide’, then I can recommend you purchase this two CD set and enjoy the rich and varied world of one of the greatest song writers of his time. 

Arther Smith 
Full Track Listing:
CD 1
Six Lieder Op. 75
(1809) [16:23]
1.         Neue Liebe, neues Leben
2.         An den fernen Geliebten
3.         Der Zufriedene
4.         Gretels Warnung
5.         Aus Goethes Faust
6.         Mignon - Kennst du das Land
Six Lieder von Gellert  [14 :24] 
7.         Bitten
8.         Gottes Macht und Vorsehung
9.         Die Liebe des Nächsten
10.       Vom Tode
11.       Die Ehre Gottes aus der Natur
12.       Bußlied
Vier Arietten und ein Duett Op. 82 (Italian) (1809) [12:40]
13.       Hoffnung
14.       Liebes-Klage
15.       L’amante impaziente
16.       L’amante impaziente
17.       Lebens-Genuss
CD 2
1.         An die Geliebte/1
2.         Sehnsucht/1
3.         An die Geliebte/2
4.         Sehnsucht/2
5.         Das Geheimnis
6.         Sehnsucht/3
7.         Als die Geliebte sich trennen wollte
8.         Sehnsucht/4
9.         Der Kuß Op. 128
10.       Sehnsucht (Reissig)
11.       Der Mann von Wort Op. 99
12.       Seufzer eines Ungeliebten und Gegenliebe
13.       In questa tomba oscura
Eight Lieder Op. 52  (1805) [27:03]
14.       Feuerfarb’ 15. Das Liedchen von der Ruhe
16.       Mailied
17.       Mollys Abschied
18.       Die Liebe - Ohne Liebe lebe wer da kann
19.       La Marmotte
20.       Das Blümchen Wunderhold
21.       Urians Reise um die Welt



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